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  • Writer's pictureGuest Pirate

Unfucking Work with Vanessa Raath

Updated: Jan 9

Vanessa is globally renowned for her contributions to the international Sourcing Community. She has delivered Keynotes across three continents and has trained teams based from Auckland to Seattle.

Vanessa launched her Talent Sourcing Training business in early 2019 and has not looked back. She is a qualified teacher with experience in both agency recruiting and internal talent acquisition (she loved both roles!). She now gets to combine her love of empowering others to do better, with her passion for recruiting through her own Online Academy.

She loves it when her training delegates experience that ‘light bulb’ moment as she knows that she has just changed someone’s career, for the better.

When Vanessa is not doing research for her training, recording content or delivering a Keynote, you can find her at the Beach or in the South African Bushveld, taking photographs.

What is the one thing you would do to unilaterally unfuck work?

Oh, there are so many things that I could say here but let me just choose one, for now! One significant factor that seems to be undermining work these days is this relentless push to return to traditional office environments, despite the evident shift in employee preference for remote work. This movement is particularly prevalent in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which clearly demonstrated that professionals can deliver and perform their jobs effectively from home. This week alone, I've had multiple conversations with individuals who strongly resist, and detest, the notion of returning to a 9-5 office routine, even comparing it to a rather torturous scenario.

Speaking from the standpoint of someone who has built a career in the global Talent Industry, I can say that I've been contacted by numerous people who have expressed their primary reason for considering a career shift is their reluctance to go back to the office environment. It is truly baffling that many companies, despite clear signals from their workforce, persist in advocating for a return to the traditional office, without recognizing the potential negative impact on their employees' job satisfaction and productivity.

This raises the question: have we not learned from the pandemic that we, as adults, can be trusted to perform our jobs from home? The current trend suggests that forcing employees back into physical offices could potentially be a destructive factor in the modern working environment.

What is the best example of unfucking work you’ve seen in the wild?

I haven’t seen any stand-out examples BUT a company that effectively exemplifies an understanding of individual needs in determining who should or shouldn't come into the office is one that proactively seeks employees' preferences about their work environment. This approach requires asking each individual how they feel they would be most productive in their roles. This inquiry might seem self-evident, but surprisingly, it often gets overlooked.

A common misconception still persists, largely stemming from practices established before the Covid-19 pandemic when working in an office was considered the norm, that everyone must physically be present to be effective. This isn’t necessarily true anymore. Therefore, what becomes essential is a shift in perspective – a new understanding that needs to be incorporated at all levels of a company, starting with recruitment agencies and up to management.

In essence, the crux of the matter lies in finding common ground. Yes, it can be challenging, but by respecting individual preferences and acknowledging the diversity in how people work best, companies can successfully manage a blended workforce. The key is listening to the employees, valuing their input, and adjusting work policies accordingly. This approach is the hallmark of a company that truly recognizes that everyone is different and respects these differences in creating an inclusive and productive work environment.

Who is your unfucking work icon? The ultimate Work Pirate?

Anyone who is a solopreneur is the ultimate Work Pirate IMHO! They are taking ‘the bull by the horns’ and creating the best environment for them to deliver their best work!

The nature of solopreneurship inherently offers a greater degree of flexibility and autonomy in terms of choosing the work environment. The benefits are endless:

  1. No Physical Team Constraints: Solopreneurs generally do not have a physical team to manage. Thus, they are not bound by the need to have a common workspace or location for team collaboration.

  2. Technology and Digital Connectivity: With the rise of digital technology, cloud-based tools, and high-speed internet, solopreneurs can conduct their business operations, reach their customers, and manage their administrative tasks from anywhere, at any time.

  3. Nature of Work: The type of work done by solopreneurs often doesn't necessitate a specific physical location. Whether they're digital marketers, graphic designers, consultants, or freelance writers, they can perform their tasks remotely.

  4. Cost Efficiency: Having a permanent physical office space incurs overhead costs. Solopreneurs, aiming to minimize expenses and maximize profits, often choose to work from home or use co-working spaces when necessary.

  5. Lifestyle Preference: Finally, solopreneurship often goes hand-in-hand with the desire for a certain kind of lifestyle – one that values flexibility, autonomy, and the freedom to design one's own work-life balance. Choosing where to work from is a crucial part of that.

The choice of where to work as a Solopreneur is closely tied to the advantages of flexibility, digital connectivity, nature of work, cost-efficiency, and personal lifestyle preference.

Recommend a book, podcast or article to our Work Pirates crew that made you think differently about work

This is such a tough question to answer as this has been a slow process for me. Maybe I am a slow learner? I think the biggest trigger for me was watching other Solopreneurs work and me thinking “Wow, one day when I am big, I want to be just like them!”

Having said that, I am a massive fan of the Work Pirates Podcast and listen as often as possible! 😊

Find Vanessa

Listen to Vannessa's podcast with us on Spotify (of course, available at all the other places) -

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